"The X Factor" U.K. alumni One Direction and Olly Murs will be featured as comic-book characters in a Red Nose Day edition of Beano magazine. Jessie J will also be in that issue of Beano, which is being guest edited by former "TV Burp" star Harry Hill (Hill also happens to be the writer of "The X Factor" stage musical, which is being planned for a West End debut in London in 2014.)
One Direction commented in a statement: "We've grown up with the magazine so to actually appear in it with Dennis and Gnasher themselves is incredible."
One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010. Murs came in second place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2009. Both acts (which are signed in North America to Syco Music/Columbia Records and represented by Modest! Management) are currently experiencing international hits with their latest singles.
One Direction's "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)" was No. 1 on iTunes in several countries. In the U.S., the song jumped this week from from No. 45 to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is likely to become another Top 10 hit on that chart for One Direction, "The X Factor's" best-selling act worldwide. "One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)" is a charity single for Comic Relief's annual Red Nose Day, which this year is on March 15, 2013.
Murs' "Troublemaker" (featuring Flo Rida) is No. 37 (up from No. 44) on Billboard's Hot 100 chart this week. The song was initially a flop in the U.S. after it was released in October 2012, but the song gained momentum in sales and radio airplay in 2013. Murs' first U.S. single, "Heart Skips a Beat" (released in the U.S. in May 2012), did not fare as well on the chart: It peaked at No. 96.
"Troublemaker" was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and Ireland in 2012. The song recently peaked at No. 15 in Canada and was a Top 10 hit in several countries, including Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Hungary, Israel and Switzerland. "Troublemaker" was nominated for a 2013 Brit Award for Best British Single, but lost to Adele's "Skyfall."
Murs' first U.S./Canadian album, "Right Place Right Time," is set for release on April 16, 2013. He is the fourth act from "The X Factor" (after Leona Lewis, One Direction and Cher Lloyd) to have a Top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the most important song chart in the United States. He was the opening act for One Direction's first headlining tour of North American tour from May to July 2012, and he headlined his own solo mini-tour of the U.S. in January 2013.
Unfortunately for "X Factor" U.S. alumni who are signed to major labels, none of them with released singles has had a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart yet. So far, the only "X Factor" alumni who have had big hits on the U.S. charts are former "X Factor" U.K. contestants.